Ask Amy: Granny doesn't want to be the nanny

FresnoDecember 26, 2013 

Dear Amy: My son and daughter-in-law have a darling daughter. She is the light in our lives. We enjoy seeing her, but we are starting to see her way too often.

My husband and I and my sister are her primary baby sitters. At first, it was just a day or two for a few hours, but now my daughter-in-law has assigned us "our own day" so we can count on being there all day — sometimes well into the night — as well as at other scheduled times.

She and my son work outside of the home with irregular schedules, so day care is pretty much out of the question. I love my granddaughter, but we're retired and really don't want to start raising another family. It's exhausting. And now my daughter-in-law says that she wants to have another child within the next year.

We are active volunteers and have already given up several activities that we enjoy to accommodate their schedules, and we are hesitant to take a trip because that would place the burden of baby-sitting on my sister.

How do we tell them to raise their own children without sounding like monsters and/or causing a rift?

— Exhausted Gran

Dear Gran: If you believe that drawing a simple boundary will make you sound like "monsters," then you can count on raising this child (and their other children). These two parents will have to make a tough choice to change their schedules — or not have another child.

Saying no to a family member can be challenging, so prepare yourself: The people on the receiving end may act out, have a tantrum or push you away. But you should trust that your family bond will be stronger than the various tasks you can perform for your kids.

You and your husband must speak with one voice. You should call a meeting with both parents and say, "We love our granddaughter dearly, but we are not going to be your regular baby-sitters anymore." Do not offer excuses or elaborate explanations.

Dear Amy: The letter from "It Got Better" sure seemed familiar to me. This man's parents abused him after he came out to them as gay, and now he is wondering if he should have them in his life.

In my own case, I was lucky in a way because my family disowned me. I didn't have to make choices.

My real family is the people in my life who love me no matter what.

— Also better

Dear Better: Amen, brother.


You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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